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The PGA hasn’t taken it well, prohibiting LIV players from competing in any number of events, while individual players loyal to the tour have tried to create new rules and incentives to save the legacy league:
Now, Mickelson is warning that the PGA Tour better get used to the competition from LIV as ESPN reported that he said the new series is “here to stay.”
“The PGA Tour, for the last 20 or 30 years have had all the best players in the world. That will never be the case again. LIV Golf is here to stay,” Mickelson said.
Beyond the warning, Mickelson had some advice for both organizations, suggesting that the best path forward is for the leagues to coexist.
“The best solution is for us to come together,” he continued. “I think that the world of professional golf has a need for the old historical ‘history of the game’ product that the PGA Tour provides. I think that LIV provides a really cool, updated feel that is attracting a lot of younger crowds.
“Both are good for the game of golf and the inclusion of LIV Golf in the ecosystem of the golf world is necessary. As soon as that happens, we all start working together. It’s going to be a really positive thing for everyone.”
Phil Mickelson might have a point; there would be something to gain if the leagues do find a way to cooperate with each other.
LIV has created some new formats and competitive styles that are different and can be exciting, but the PGA Tour has significantly more events that fans care, and controls the most important international competition with the Ryder Cup.
He’s also probably being overly optimistic in thinking that there’s the slightest chance that this happens.
The PGA Tour still retains star power, the weight of history and unquestioned legitimacy behind it. LIV’s main advantage to attracting players is money.
There’s not really a significant incentive for the PGA to work with LIV either, as their best weapon against competition is prohibiting players like Mickelson from playing in PGA operated events.
Something has to give at some point though, whether that’s the PGA Tour upping their financial payouts or LIV creating signature events.
Mickelson might be waiting a substantial amount of time for the leagues to “come together.”